Portsmouth Woman Released After Spending Nearly Eight Months Awaiting Deportation

Jan 28, 2019

A Portsmouth grandmother has been released after nearly eight months at a jail in Dover. Etty Tham has lived in the U.S. since fleeing religious persecution in Indonesia almost two decades ago.


She was arrested at an immigration checkpoint on I-93 last May.


Since then, Tham's daughter and grandkids have visited her regularly, separated by a glass partition at the correctional facility.


Tham says it was hard not being able to see her granddaughter grow up for the better part of a year. She used to take care of her while her mother was at work.


"That's why I can't believe I'm far away from her,” Tham said. “Because every day I take care of her."


Tham's fight to stay in the country is not over yet. Her family is hoping her attorney, William Hahn, will be successful in re-opening her asylum case.


"I really was concerned about the length of this, as were other people, so I'm very pleased with what has happened,” Hahn said. “We've got somebody who's now got their freedom and we'll hope for the best. "


In the meantime, immigration authorities will require Tham to wear a GPS tracking bracelet.